Posted in 1986 Film Fest, Movies

Crazy Moon (1986)

Crazy MoonTitle: Crazy Moon (1986)

Summary: No website can agree on an “official” synopsis of this film. Let’s just say it’s a “rom-com” before that was a thing, and it’s really… strange.

Tagline: Sometimes acting crazy is the only way to stay together.

Note: I found this on YouTube. I believe it is still there; this is a hard film to find, except maybe on VHS tape. So, what I’m watching isn’t the best in picture quality, but I’ll live.

Initial Thoughts:

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! It’s kind of fitting that I ended up aiming to post this recap on the one day of the year that we’re all pressured to be romantic and shunned if we don’t have a partner. Crazy Moon is one of those “super quirky in an obvious way!” kind of films that I don’t think intended to be a “super quirky in an obvious way!” kind of films.

‘Weird’ is the adjective I keep using to describe this film to everyone I know. It’s a hot mess and needed a better director, writer, and editor. I see so much I want to fix. It’s painful how much I want to fix it.

Because of its age (32 years) and the fact that it was so low budget and is technically a foreign (Canadian) film, information is…lacking. I’m cobbling together what I can from four websites. Talk about frustrating.

A bit of back story: Kiefer Sutherland, who most of you probably best know as Jack Bauer (or in the case of Dove and Wing, as David of The Lost Boys), wasn’t well known until the mid-80s. And even then he’d done more theater then film. Literally his first acting job in the United States was Stand By Me, which he thought he failed at and was convinced he’d doomed his career over. Yes. Amazing, isn’t it.

So. Somewhere between 1985, when Stand By Me was filmed in Oregon and California, and 1986, when he went off to Santa Cruz to film The Lost Boys, he made Crazy Moon in Québec, Canada. Why do I know this? His hair. His hair is the same color as it was in Stand By Me, although longer. And he’s way too tan, which was because the hoodlum gang got frequently sunburned while filming the car scenes in Stand By Me.

Yeah, I am a strange font of even stranger knowledge but I would hands down win “Trivial Pursuit: Kiefer Sutherland Edition”.

Plus, he’s super young. Maybe 19, probably closer to 18, because he was only 20 when he filmed The Lost Boys. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if he filmed this before Stand By Me, but I swear the info I can find is conflicting in every which way. The film appears to have been theatrically released in Canada in 1986, but wasn’t released theatrically in the US until December 1987, in a bid to capitalize on Sutherland’s sudden fame after The Lost Boys was a box office hit that July.

Ironically, the character in Crazy Moon is a complete opposite of David in The Lost Boys, although I think he talks even less in Crazy Moon.

Honestly, I would try to summarize the film, but I don’t want to. I think I’ll leave it all for the recap.

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Posted in Comics

The Abandoned by Sophie Campbell

The Abandoned by Sophie CampbellTitle: The Abandoned aka “Howard, They’re Zombies”

Creator: Sophie Campbell

Summary: Big-hearted volunteer worker by day, unruly rocker by night, Rylie is one of the most-liked residents of the small island-town of Buffalora. When she sets her sights on Naomi, the new girl in town, love is definitely in the air. Unfortunately for Rylie, so is a storm. The kind in which nothing good ever happens… suddenly all the adults die and quickly rise from the dead! These flesh-craving zombies seek out the last remnants of youth and hope for society. With death in the air and love on their minds, Rylie and Naomi must make their way through the vast swamplands to salvation.

Initial Thoughts

For Valentine’s Day I’ve given you all two things – lesbians and zombies, the gifts that keep on giving.

Seriously though, “The Abandoned” was one of many OEL manga comics published by Tokyopop in the 2000s. This was written and illustrated by Sophie Campbell back when she was still going by the name “Ross” and it’s been out of print for a while. It’s a very gory but not too explicit zombie horror tale, one full of genuine despair and apathy. Sophie colors the pages in very drab tones of grey, white, black, and what might be puce or mauve, with the use of red a shocking apparition throughout the landscape.

It features some of the stuff Sophie does very well, gore and plus-sized women. You guys really need to check out her work on IDW’s “Jem and the Holograms” series with Kelly Thompson, it saved comics. She’s exceptional when it comes to variety in body types and sizes. Although since this IS one of her earliest works her some of the characters appear a bit off-model in some panels.  There’s also this one sequence in the beginning that has not aged well at all.

Also, I want to ask everyone NOT to tag or send a link for this to Sophie. I think she’d prefer not to look back on this because it’s so old and was made when she was still using her old name. And from what I’ve read, she does NOT have fond things to say about Tokyopop, which is something of a shared sentiment with a lot of people.

Content Note: References to abuse and sexual assault.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Posted in Making Out

Making Out #2: Jake Finds Out by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out 2: Jake Finds Out by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Jake Finds Out

Front Blurb: Zoey fooled around behind Jake’s back with Lucas, who used to go out with Claire. Claire’s falling in love with Jake, but she’s got a secret only Lucas knows, and she’s dreading what will happen when… Jake finds out.

Back Blurb: They’ve all grown up together on a tiny island. They think they know everything about one another… but they’re only just beginning to find out the truth.

Jake finds out, and life on the island will never be the same. First Zoey, his old girlfriend, betrayed him. Now Claire, his new love, has hurt him too. Somebody’s going to pay…

Initial Thoughts

Things are moving awfully quickly for Claire to be Jake’s new love. Also, that “somebody’s going to pay” line makes it sound like Jake is about to go on a spree killing, which would be a very different kind of story.

[Wing: ETA February 2: I have no idea why a version went out in January without any comments. It has been deleted and this is the real version. Sorry for any confusion.]

[Dove: Sorry I’m late, I was due to comment on this last night, but instead I was really ill.] [Rosey: I am even later than Dove. For no reason!]

Content Note: Brief reference to child sexual abuse and the trauma from that toward the end.

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Posted in Graveyard School

Graveyard School #6: Camp Dracula by Tom B. Stone

Graveyard School 6 Camp Dracula by Tom B. Stone
Graveyard School 6 Camp Dracula by Tom B. Stone

Title: Graveyard School #6 – Camp Dracula a.k.a. “The Purple Bear Jamboree”

Author: Tom B. Stone/Nola Thacker/D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Barry Jackson

Summary: Camp At Your Own Risk!

Welcome to camp – Camp Dracula, as Jeep Holmes jokingly calls it. [Wing: JEEP.] Jeep may be joking, but he isn’t laughing. He can’t take this weird new summer place! Never mind that the counselors always wear dark glasses and the activities are all at night. What bothers him most are the other campers, a bunch of sickly-looking creeps who like to keep bats in the bunks! Why did his parents send him to this horrific place? Will Jeep make it through the summer without going batty?

Initial Thoughts

And now we get back into the chronological order of things (at least for a little bit), but hey, this is a vampire book, and what goes better with February than vampires?

This is the first book in the series to take place outside of the school and Grove Hill, and the first summer-themed story. I mentioned there were only two camp-related books, and it’s interesting it would involve vampires since they’re nocturnal by nature and camp tales take place mostly during the day. This is also the first to have a protagonist who can be genuinely grating on the reader. It’s admittedly one of the few books I haven’t reread as much.

But you’d be surprised at the use of Dracula references.

[Wing: I love summer camp stories and vampire stories and Dracula references, and that cover is adorable. I’m excited.]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins Podcast Episode 18: Jessica and the Money Mix-Up

Wing, Raven and Dove talk about Sweet Valley Twins 39: Jessica and the Money Mix-Up. They also discuss Bleak Valley and how the book ties into this theory.

Music is provided by Stuart Taylor, who can be contacted on taylorstuart602@gmail.com if you wish to commission music.

You can read our recaps at Sweet Valley Online, tumblr or visit us at Facebook or Twitter (follow @SweetValley_)

Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club 2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls by Ann M. Martin

Title: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

Summary: Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne and Stacey have had some strange adventures since they started the Baby-sitters Club. [Wing: Considering this is book #2, I think that’s a bit of a stretch, blurb writer.] But nothing’s been as spooky as what’s going on right now. The baby-sitters have been getting mysterious phone calls when they’re out on their jobs. When a phone rings and they pick up, there’s no one on the other end of the line.

Claudia’s sure it’s the Phantom Caller, a jewel thief who’s been operating in the area. Claudia has always liked reading mysteries, but she doesn’t like it when they happen to her. So she and the baby-sitters decide to take action – with some very mixed results!

Tagline: Claudia’s not sure she wants to find out who’s on the other end of the line.

Initial Thoughts

What the everloving hell is Claudia wearing on the cover of my copy of this? That’s the one pictured up top there. That vest looks like it was made by a commune of llama-breeding hippies in the 1970s.

Also, we might as well get this out of the way: Kirsten Dunst modelled for the cover of this. I don’t even know why I know that, but I do. [Wing: Wait, what? Did she really? I had no idea.] Not the cover I have; this one:

I love these books too much to be properly snarky about them, particularly the early ones. I thought maybe rereading them I’d be more cynical, but no; if anything they’re even more adorable. So apologies in advance for that. [Wing: It’s so difficult to be snarky over something you love! I still adore these books so, so much, and I feel your pain.]

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Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins Podcast Episode 17: Lois Strikes Back

Wing, Raven and Dove talk about Sweet Valley Twins 38: Lois Strikes Back. They also discuss Bleak Valley and how the book ties into this theory.

Music is provided by Stuart Taylor, who can be contacted on taylorstuart602@gmail.com if you wish to commission music.

You can read our recaps at Sweet Valley Online, tumblr or visit us at Facebook or Twitter (follow @SweetValley_)

Posted in Graveyard School

Graveyard School #26: Little School of Horrors by Tom B. Stone

Title: Graveyard School #26 – Little School of Horrors

Author: Tom B. Stone/Nola Thacker/D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Tagline: N/A

Summary: It’s The Most Horrifying Time Of Year In Grove Hill – Back-To-School Time!

Back to school.

Ghouls rule. Teachers drool.

Dead things walking are nothing shocking.

Blue is new at Graveyard School. But he knows right away that he’s going to class at Creep Central. Just look at the teachers. The principal. Even the janitor. But worst of all, look at the kid who wants to be Blue’s best friend. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Welcome to Dead Kid 101.

[Wing: This summary made me laugh. I’m delighted.]

Initial Thoughts

Looking at the cover Wing you can guess why I picked this for your b-day month, and lucky for you this is also one of my favorite books in the series.

What’s weird about it is this book has got some world building shit going on, and the way it reads you’d THINK it would’ve been the first in the series. It gives a much better sense of how big the sixth grade class is, even for a small town, which puts it at odds with the Fear Street Seniors series for how it only focused on a handful of the 12th grade class and then made sporadic, frustrating references to all the OTHER kids in the graduating class.

But this is frustrating for me because this was the third to last in the line, and none of the other kids introduced in this book appeared in “Here Comes Santa Claws” or “The Spider Beside Her.” I can’t help but wonder what Thacker might’ve had planned for this series if #28 wasn’t the last. God knows I still have some notes from way back in high school on ideas I had for stories with these guys.

And we also get a look at racism through the eyes of a kids horror book!

[Wing: I do love the surprise on that cover, thank you! It’s strange that this isn’t the first book in the series, or that the world building here wasn’t included in the first book, at least. Though, I did like the pacing on the first book, and this information might have slowed it down.

No matter what, I’m super excited about this!]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Posted in Strange Matter

Strange Matter #2: The Midnight Game by Johnny Ray Barnes Jr.

Title: Strange Matter #2 – The Midnight Game

Author: Johnny Ray Barnes Jr.

Cover Artist: ???

Summary: Tyler Webb has been invited to attend a very special football game – a final showdown between two teams from Fairfield’s past. The only problem is, the game is scheduled for midnight and there’s no way Tyler’s parents will let him go. Curiosity gets the better of him and Tyler sneaks out to see the game. Now he’s sitting in the moonlight, waiting for the teams to run out.

But they don’t. They crawl out… from the ground.

Initial Thoughts

I sent Wing the first book in the Strange Matter series as a Christmas gift. I’ve known of the series for years but I only own two books, this one and “Frozen Dinners,” which is book 5. From what I’ve seen online and what I gleamed from the fifth book, it looks like this series had an ongoing storyline spread throughout the different volumes concerning the strange things happening in Fairfield. I’m trying to avoid buying books in the latter half until I’ve read the first ten. Unfortunately, a few books were cancelled, which has me really intrigued and frustrated because I’d really like to know what “Stamped” was gonna be about.

When I told Wing about these two she sounded super excited so I offered to recap this entry for her birthday.

[Wing: Football! Zombie players! How could I resist? I love how Jude always brings new series to Devil’s Elbow, and I’m particularly excited about this one. Can’t wait to read this recap.]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins #39: Jessica and the Money Mix-Up by Francine Pascal

Title: Jessica and the Money Mix-Up by Francine Pascal

Summary: A matter of trust…

When Jessica Wakefield’s father asks her to run an errand for him, she jumps at the chance. It’s the perfect opportunity to prove to her dad that she can be trusted. All she has to do is deliver an envelope of money for a charity to Mr. Hopper, who lives three blocks away.

What could possibly go wrong? Jessica doesn’t know that she’s about to be sidetracked by Sweet Valley Middle School’s biggest gossip. Or that, when she hides the money to deliver it later, her hiding place will disappear! Jessica’s only hope is to find the money—fast. With Elizabeth’s help, she’ll search all over Sweet Valley. But will the twins find it before their father discovers the money is gone?

Tagline: Jessica is in the biggest trouble of her life!

Initial Thoughts

I … am not looking forward to this book. It might have been a bad idea to start recapping the Baby-Sitters Club books, which I love so much, while recapping Sweet Valley. Similar character age, similar target audience, and yet, I love the hell out of those books and spend a great deal of time hating these.

On the other hand, this is the fourth SVT book I’ve read this week (the last week of December, as I write this), so maybe I’ve just overwhelmed my ability to deal.

[Dove: No, you’re not wrong. I know this is the first Michael Grant/Katherine Applegate book, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. As you can see from our Q&A session with him, he wasn’t delighted by this outline. But I promise it does get better.]

READ AT SWEET VALLEY ONLINE